"Puente de la Amistad" in Spanish, or "Ponte da Amizade" in Portuguese, mean "Friendship Bridge"; this bridge is situated over river Parana, between Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, but the Argentinian border is pretty close too, so you can see three countries from this bridge.
"Puente de la Amistad" en español, o "Ponte da Amizade" en portugués, es el nombre de este puente sobre el río Paraná, entre Ciudad del Este, en Paraguay, y Foz do Iguaçum en Brasil, pero la frontera argentina está muy cerca también, por lo que desde este puente se pueden ver los tres países.
The hydroelectric plant in Itaipu (just west of Foz do Iguacu on the border between Paraguay and Brazil) is the largest facility of its kind in the world and puts out an unbelievable number of megawatts of electricity per year. One statistic I remember is that the quantity of steel and iron used in constructing the plant would be enough to construct 380 Eiffel Towers! The tour is free and is quite humorous. Basically, it goes something like this . . . "Brazil and Paraguay are two beacons to the world enlightening us all to the power of cooperation and human achievement. Aren't we great? Aren't we amazing? What an amazing accomplishment on all levels." I don't mean to be critical. After all, the place is impressive, but the video that they show is just a bit over the top with shots of children playing in the lake created by the dam and beautiful photos of the biodiversity of the region and even a shot of a lady frolicking in a thong (that part was good). All of this is accompanied by a cheesy song that just keeps repeating the blessings and bounty of almighty "Agua".
Las Cataratas means "The Waterfalls" in Spanish and this is likely to be your primary purpose for visiting this part of the world. The sight of the falls from the Brazilian side is perhaps more panoramic and breathtaking, but visiting the falls from Argentina brings you much closer to the water and allows you to observe some interesting wildlife in the surrounding forest. Bottom line: visit both!
Take a look at this picture...
Take a look at this picture snapped from the bridge over the Iguaçu river, which shows the contraband activity taking place in the area. These gentleman are smuggling cigarettes into Brazil in order to avoid the taxes in Brazil. The routine I observed is the following:
1. The top-of-the-bridge crew runs across the bridge from Ciudad de Este toward the Brazilian side carring home made backpacks carrying cartons upon cartons of cigarettes in a large cardboard box, additionally packaged in black plastic wrap.
3. The top-of the-bridge crew reaches a pre-existing breech in the 10 foot tall fence that lines the bridge, and over Brazilian soil, and they hurl the contents of the backpacks to the groud below, from a height of about 40 meters.
4. The under-the-bridge crew retreives the plastic covered boxes and remove the black plastic wrapping and place the cardboard boxes of cigarettes into homemade backpacks of their own, and they head quickly into the bushes.
5. The cigarettes will re-appear for sale in retail establishments across the adjacent countries, having paid no tax, and therefore, possibly being offered for a reduced price------------------------------------This photo does not really do justice to the subject, as it is really a long way down. Note how small the red fleck appears in the photo... this is the shirt of one of the 'ground crew' Also note all of the black plastic on the ground. The black plastic is the debris of lots and lots of makeshift packaging for contraband cigarettes.
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